Station: [6] The Kitchen and the Walther Factory

  • Historical photography of the kitchen
  • The Kitchen and the Walther Factory

The roof of the former kitchen barrack visible from the main entrance
used to be decorated with a cynical statement:
“There is only one road leading to freedom!
It is paved with obedience, diligence, honesty, order, cleanliness, sobriety,
veracity, self-sacrifice and the love for one's country.“

The little food the prisoners received in the kitchen was of bad quality and barely edible.
At five o'clock in the morning, the prisoners received
a cup of brown, watery drink which was supposed to be coffee.
For lunch they were usually given turnip soup
which was again mostly water with a little bit of fat.
In the evening, after roll call, they got some bread
with a bit of margarine or cheese.
Given the hard physical work that the prisoners had to perform daily,
these portions were not nearly enough.
Due to rapid physical decline numerous prisoners died or stood on the brink of death.

Ahead of you, you can see several brick buildings behind the kitchen barrack, where the former workshops of the Walther factory were located.
In 1942, the SS decided to focus more on the arms production in the camp.
In 1944, an arms manufacturing company called Carl Walther moved to Neuengamme. During the last years of the war, a semi-automatic rifle, was produced here.
The construction of the brick buildings in which the production was to take place
began a year earlier, in 1943.
In the beginning, 250 prisoners worked in the main building,
but by mid-1944, the number grew to 1000.
The work at the Walther factory was the prisoners' favorite
because they were protected from bad weather
and mostly safe from the attacks by the SS guards
because the production process was supposed to run smoothly.
However, this work presented a moral dilemma for the prisoners,
especially the non-German ones, because they had to produce weapons for the Nazis.

You can now go to the Walther factory in front of you,
where you can take a look at the exhibition called “Mobilisation for the War-Time Economy…”
Or you can go into the large brick building on your left,
where you can see the main exhibition “Traces of History”.
If you wish to continue following the audio guide and go to the SS camp,
follow the path to your left and go past the large brick building which houses the main exhibition. Then continue straight ahead until you reach another,
smaller brick building with a cobble-stone courtyard and big white doors.